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Stateline (ACT) -

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(generated from captions) and at first tomorrow the chance of a shower overnight

then fine and mild. and temperatures from 9-19. Winds turning W to SW overnight on Sunday, The outlook is for a fine sunny day on Monday and Tuesday. fine and partly cloudy Virginia. And that's ABC News to this minute. is next. 'Stateline' with Phillip Williams Have a good weekend. Goodnight. International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions provided by

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Hello and welcome to

Stateline. I'm Phillip

Williams. Coming up - gay

marriage proposals, a couple

who'll be denied marriage if

Senator Gary Humphries has his

ways and the mysteries of Lake

when British Prime Minister George. First earlier this week

Tony Blair was welcomed to

Canberra he was hailed as a

visionary, a man who fights for

equality. That description drew

wry smiles to those who who

he's delivered anything but

equality - 250,000 British

pensioners living in Australia.

It is all to do with indexation

or lack of it and you dear

taxpayers pay the difference.

I love the people, I love the

place, always have and always

will. You come as a friend, you

you come as an esteemed international statesman a

leader of a great country to

which my country owes so

much. Putting extreme poverty

on the global agenda with your

passionate appeal to all

nations to make poverty

history. Outside the Parliament

a less enthusiastic welcome for

a Prime Minister whom they

would argue has delivered them

injustice and entrenched

poverty. I've been getting the

same amount of money I won't

say how many years but for a

long time since my 60th

birthday of just ?17.22 per

week. That is your entire

pension now? That is my

entire British state

pension. Where would you be if

the Australian Government

didn't top up that pension?

In the poor house, in the very

poor house. How does that make

you feel of having paid into

that pension for 34 years? It

makes me angry. I mean we pay

taxes all our life, I've worked all my life except when the

kids were at school and then I

went full time and my husband

the same and we paid the tax

all the time and then I think

it is disgusting. Ever since

1975 the British Government has

refused to index pensions for

those who choose to live in

certain countries. If you

retire in the United States,

Spain, France or the

Philippines your pension keeps

up with inflation. If you move

to Canada, South Africa, or

Australia bad luck. We did have

an old lady she died last year,

99 years old and she came here

actually to Canberra in 1968 to

join her daughter and her

pension then was ?4.50 a week.

When she died last year, in a

nursing home in Sydney she was

still getting ?4.50 a week from

Britain. Jim Tilley is leading

the fight for equality, armed

today with some of the letters

from the 250,000 British

pensioners in Australia being

short changed by their own

Government. He came to

Australia in 1973 with a full British pension of ?6 a week

from the UK. To this day she

#12i8 receives ?6 a week. We calculate that you Mr Blair

have denied her over this

period almost ?100,000. That

has to be made up by the

Australian taxpayer. Your

justification for abandoning

your responsibility in this

matter is hereby requested. To

be fair Tony Blair is one of a

long line of British leaders to

fight any attempt at equality

in the courts. The consistent

argument is not based on morals

but money. Can't pay, won't

pay. Leaving Australian

taxpayers plugging the gap -

$100 million a year. I know the

Australians have tried time and

time again to negotiate

themselves out of the

situation. Eventually in 2001

Jocelyn Newman spat the dummy

said any British person doesn't

get access to the Aussie

pension until they have been

here for 10 years. This is one

union that doesn't do the right

thing by Aussie taxpayers. They

are unfair and unjust and the

Australian taxpayers have been

picking up the bill for far too

long. For all the talk of our

special relationship - 30 years

and hundreds of millions of

dollars later, nothing has changed.

Like Frank Brooks many here

fought a war against tyranny

but can't beat their own Government's apparent

indifference. So many

countries, Canada and Australia

and South Africa are not. All

we wa want to know is why, why

are they not getting it? Why do

you think that is the case? I

have no idea. After many

defeats in the British courts a

case is now being brout before the European Court of Human

Rightses and those letters

taken to the British High

Commission. This is a whole

series of letters from people

all over the world expressing

their disgust at the way in

which our pensions are not

incapsulates the people from indexed and just it

all over the world from South

Africa, Canada and Australia,

we'd appreciate if you'd give

it to him. There's my card. We

would like to think that he may

respond or get his staff to

respond. A lot are e-mails.

Many have addresses on. We'd be

appreciative of that. All I

can do is promise you they

reach the person you wish to

get to and we wish you

well. Thank you for your time

and for coming down. One small

step and everest

awaits. Mission

accomplished. Not quite mission accomplished. Mission accomplished to present

information to Mr Blair. Let's

hope they fulfil their

offer. As Tony Blair wings his

way home letters in hand, the

rhythm of life here resumes.

Pensions still under paid. And

a fear the issue will yet again

be blown away as easily as the autumn leaves.

When Chief Minister Jon

Stanhope announced he'd

legislate for same sex civil

unions he must have known it

would cause a stir and it

certainly has. The Federal

Government has intervened

promising to override any ACT

law that allows gay marriages.

Jon Stanhope has accused the

Howard Government of gross discrimination. As the

politicians wrangle about the

legalities and morals gay

couples living in Canberra like

Dr Joo-Inn Chew and Dr Belinda

Edwards just want that

recognition that their love is

every bit as valid as everybody

els. We were really excited. I

mean our relationship is the

most amazing thing in our life.

We've be been together for five

years. It is about having that

socially and legally

recognised. After I moved up to

the six weeks after meeting

Lindy because I knew she was

the one for me. It's about

celebrating that and you know,

making that really visible. I

think it's really symbolic,

whether it is marriage or civil

union it is being able to say

to people this is the person I

love and want to spend the rest

of my life with. We've always

felt strange at weddings

feeling happy for people but

feeling like it's not able to

be us. It was like that, last

year my brother got married. He

had a big wedding, the full

deal and my mum actually

realised how that might make us

feel. She went out and she got

us a wedding present too, which

was really cool. It does make a

big difference. The process of

removing the - a lot of what

this is about is removing the

discrimination and the

symbolism of that is really

important that for a long time

people believed that if someone

was gay you could make

assumptions about their values

and life style and what they

are like and what this

legislation is about is saying

hey that's not how it is.

Marrying someone who is gay

tells you the gender of their

partner. But beyond that you

have to look at the person.

People often don't and still

don't realise that gay people

are a varied bunch. People who

are corporate raiders and feral

green ys and Conservatives,

Christians the whole works.

It's about getting part the gay

and actually looking at the


There is a lot of gay people

who are scared to come to

doctor. People have to think

carefully about whether they

want to come to doctor. Some

people their place gets burgled

they don't report it to the

police because they're afraid

that people in authority or

power will treat them. Having

Jon Stanhope saying you're

equal and you should be treated

equally makes you feel safer.

All the effects of their lives

will effect how the marriage

stuff will effect how peel feel

in other areas. The experience

is how the 'Brokeback Mountain'

experience was for can berians.

My dad died last year and we

got a number of cards of people

that they hoped you would be

able to support me openly

during that time. For us it was

completely taken for granted

that she'd absolutely been involved in organising the

funeral and the wheels would

have fallen off if she hadn't.

For lots of people there is

still that sense that you need

to keep the relationship secret

and that your partner wouldn't

be welcome at the funeral or

something like that. So, these

laws which are about that

recognising and veiling gay

relationships are really

important. Whether it is

marriage or civil union it is a

being able to have a public

celebration that is legalised

recognised and has the social

standing that really matters to

us. What yould wow say to

people who disagree with gay

marriage? I think you'd have

to say, you'd have to ask them

to go out and spend some time

with some gay people, look at

the people, look at the

relationships and see if that's

still how you feel. I think

lots of the research out there

has shown that the biggest

factor on how people feel on

these issues is whether or not

they know the person, whether

or not they know people. Once

it gets down to people dealing

with people, the discrimination

actually falls away pretty

fast. People go hey this is two

people in love and that's

great. I think that

increasingly the issues around

gay rights, type stuff, has

been pitched as a question to

parents. You know you have this

great child and this is a

relationship that makes them

really happy are you going to

support them and accept

them? Are you going to support

your kids, yeah? Do you feel

exploited by the politicians?

You do feel exploited by the

politicians sometimes. You feel

like a political football some

of the time. It's been really

hard. It's really hard watching

it play out this week you can't

help but... Wonder if people

just want to misplace the AWB

scandal off the main page and

it becomes the story of the

week. For us it is the story of

our life not just the story of the week. The Prime Minister

has indicated that to him the common law definition common law definition of

marriage remains, that is, a

voluntary union for life

between a man and a woman.

Government Senator Gary

Humphries agrees with that

definition and he joins me now.

Senator Humphrey what is your

main objection to the whole con

concept of the loving gay coup

becoming recognised in law?

I'm not in favour of having

petty discrimination against

people on the basis of them

choosing to be in a loving

relationship, whether they're

heterosexual or homosexual. But

I do think that there are

implications for sanctioning

gay marriage which we need to

think through. The most serious

of those concerns is the

concept that those marriages

might become the basis on which

children are raised or adopted

and I think that the

implications of that for the

social fabric need to be very

carefully thought through. Is

it possible, as far as you're

concerned for a gay couple to

successfully raise children?

No it is not. It is certainly

very difficult to put a child

or children into a community

where that is not the norm and

expect those children to grow

up in a healthy well adjusted

way. Because of prejudice?

Because of prejudice. Isn't the

foundation of breaking down

that prejudice, recognising

that sort of situation where

their parents would not be

vilified? Well, children

shouldn't be on the front-line

of that kind of social


Isn't that a catch 22,

though? What we need to do is work through the implications

of a decision like that not

base on the whim of Australia's

smallest jurisdiction, but

rather work that through on a

social debate with a social

debate that works out whether

we do need to change the norms

of Australian society and allow

that kind of thing to happen. I

think it is open to the ACT to

decide that it's unilateral ly

going to change that particular

norm. They haven't, at any case

in that bill made clear what

they think about gay people

adopting children. In those

circumstances I don't think the

full implications of this bill

have been worked through by the

ACT Government. Are you jumping

ahead though, as you say they haven't mentioned that. Will

that be included in legislation, you're drawing

that conclusion, aren't you?

I think if you give people the

right to enter into what

amounts to a marriage when they

are same sex couple,

necessarily, you raise the

question of whether or not that

same sex marriage or union can

raise or adopt children. It's a

right that pertains to other people in marriages in

Australia and people inevitably

ask why can't it pertain to us

as well. That issue hasn't been

thought through by the ACT

Government. Gay koums are

watching this program right now

can you tell them that they are

not fit parents? I can't make

that unilateral statement in

all cases. I'm sure in many

cases they would be able to

successfully shoulder the

responsibilities of being

patients. That's not the point.

- being parents. It's not open

to us as legislators to change

social values and change social

norms. One of the social norms

has has changed is the notion

of marriage for life. The Prime

of marriage for life. The Prime

Minister has referred to that

but that in reality no longer

exists either. Times do change,

don't they? They do. It is

important for Governments and

legislatures not to decide that

they're going to anticipate

changes and make different

social institutions before

social values have reached that

stage. I don't think Australian

society, or ACT society, for

that matter, is ready to

broadly sanction the idea that

non-heterosexualal partnerships

should be able to raise and

rare children as if that was

the norm and the very important

consequence that this particular decision - homosexual marriage would have

is on the children of that

partnership or marriage - what

would those children have to go

through? What is it like them

going to school and saying I

have two dads or two mums at home? There are children in

that situation in the ACT, are

they traumatised and in a

dangerous situation? I think

there is a risk that those

children become part of a

social experiment. It is

happening now. It does happen.

It doesn't mean that's the sort

of thing we should engineer to

happen. The law effectively by

passing certain things by

making certain things possible

engineers those sorts of

outcomes to occur. What is the

message to those parents and to

those particular children is

this isn't right and it's

abnormal and it shouldn't

exist. Is that a message you

want to convey to people

watching the program now? I

don't want to stigmatise those

people in those sort of

relationships they are my

frinds and I have relationship

for them. For them to make the

decision to bring children into

the relationship can be a very

difficult decision. Sometimes

they choose to make that

decision to defy social

convention, that's their right

I suppose to do that but as to

whether the law should support

and promote that by virtue of

sanctioning these reltionships

and consequences is a very big

step which I don't think the

community has yet had the

chance to debate and determine

its position on. More debate to

come. Gary Humphries thanks for

coming in.

It's youth week so I hope

you'll forgive me if I suggest

stick it up your art. It is on

at the Legislative Assembly and

will show how it can transform

young lives. Brooke Goldfinch met some of the artists.

I like drawing and painting

and I love canvass kind of

work, as well.

It shows what I'm all about,

you know. It shows all my

skating, all my Graf, all my

friends hanging out, it's me,

putting me out there, so yeah I

love it. My first impression

was wow it's all really

colourful, I didn't expect so

much kind of vibrant

contrasting colours in the work

that we got. We did get some

black and white sketches and

char coal prints and stuff like

that but it's all kind of bold.

The purpose of this exhibition

is was to go we're putting on

an exhibition, it's for you,

for young people 12 to 25 years

old and we'll take anything you

give us. We have reached a wide

group of young people. We have

young indigenous people who

have put work in. We have young people with disabilities who

have put work in. We have young

people who are probably from

very stable backgrounds that

have put work in. We have young

people from refuges, I think

that is actually unique. I

thought it was very good thing

to get involved in and it's

about youth art and, you know,

got asked by one of the youth

workers there, I thought why

not, give it a go, I have a bit

of art to show, so yeah, I did

that. I just did a

self-portrait. It gives an

aspect on how I feel. I feel

like I'm trapped within myself

because of the things I've

done, things I've gone through

and the things I've seen and a

lot of people feel the same

way. Is there anything or

anyone that inspires you? All

my teachers, all the youth

workers anybody out there to

help us kids. Gets the youth

out there letting other people know what we have what we have

to offer. A lot of it goes

under the rug, they don't

notice it until some of us show

it in art places like this help

us kids get our stuff out

there, everyone recognises it.

Maybe it helps us. So anyone

can come to this exhibition who

would you want to come along?

My mum.

The Lake George festival is

also under way. For decades

Lake George has held a

mysterious place in local

folklore. Water levels have

gone up and down and some of

the legends, rulers and

arguments about grazing versus

boating, versus fishing on the

lake. These days there is not

much fishing or boating on the lake as a young Peter Luck


This is Lake George about 25

miles north of Canberra. It

could be the biggest natural

lake in New South Wales but it

can also be the smallest. It

has a tendancy to damage its

reputation a bit by disappears

every now and then. It's dried

up three times since 1832, the

last time was from 1928 until

1950. Now the lake is starting

to evapate again, as the level

of the lake goes down, two

factions are forming, firstly

the graziers who were paying on

the rates on the land since it

last dried up and then there

are the fishermen and speedboat

enthusiasts who want to see the

lake full of course.

This man was able to put 100

more sheep on his property

here. How long has it been

since you've seen that fence?

Snroo about 17 years. How much

of your land is showing, Sir?

Approximately 200 acres. How

much is still under water?

About 1400 acres under water

now. When did you first get the

land? 1932. Since 32 what

have you seen happen here? Wet and dry . How long

Wet and dry . How long would it

take for the grass to grow

again? Another 12

months. You're pretty happy

about this, are you? Yes. The

people most worried about the

disappearing lake are the

fishermen and the speedboaters.

The Commodore of the speedboat

club is Harry. How long has it

been since the lake was up to

here? It was up to here two

years ago. Since then it has

been dropping all the time. It

down to a 10 foot drop

now. What is the box on wheels

over here? It is our control

tower. You have to keep it

mobile? It is follow the

water line. We won't be able to

use the lake any more for

speedboats because it is too

shallow. When the lake goes

down do the farmers start

putting up their fences again?

All the farmers down the back

here who we lease the property

off he's thinking about fencing

it right across here now.

During the lake's history

numerous reasons have been

given for numerous

fluctuations. A seminar in

Canberra said without doubt

evapation was the cause. One

group still advocating the plan

for regulation is the anglers.

Mr McDonald the President of

the gold burn dramatisation

society and the President of

the southern districts of the

angler's association. Is it

worth thousands of mirl yons of

dollars to keep fishermen and

boating people happy? I do,

because to my mind I have been

a conservationist and I still

am. I think this goes much

further than a few boating

people, a few tourists and

that. We have a beautiful

highway past the lake, we have

wildfowl on the lake, we want

wildfowl reserves which this is

and we want fishing reserves

and we have fish in this lake.

This is one of the largest

areas in New South Wales of

fresh water that is

natural. One thing is for certain unless there is a

canal, a tunnel or some very

heavy rain this year, history

looks like repeating itself.

Someone is going to get left

high and dry.

Young Peter Luck he never

seems to age. The lake and its

surrounding towns explode into

colour this weekend with the

Weereewa festival. That's it

for us. The constable exhibition at the National

Gallery, relax and enjoy and until next week. Goodbye. Captions by Captioning and

Subtitling International.

This program is not subtitled


Welcome to the show. I'm Andy Muirhead, and this is Collectors, the show that celebrates the passion, the obsession and the compulsion that is collecting in Australia today.

And to help us do that, we've got our passionate, obsessive,

compulsive panel of experts - Professor of Sociology and avid collector, Adrian Franklin, museum curator and historian, Niccole Warren, and antiques dealer and restoration expert, Gordon Brown. And let's see what's on the show tonight. Niccole?